Nov 21 Update – Knowing isn’t Doing

Knowing isn’t doing

By David Leonhard

Students in Phoenix.Cheney Orr/Reuters

The ebb and flow of coronavirus cases over the last year has obscured a basic truth: We know a lot about how to control the virus’s spread

Mask-wearing makes a big difference. So does limiting indoor gatherings. In particular, closing indoor restaurants, bars and gyms has reduced the virus’s spread in many places.

Arizona is an excellent example. Its governor, Doug Ducey, resisted taking aggressive action for weeks. But in late June, he closed bars, movie theaters and gyms and banned gatherings of 50 people or more. The rules began to lift in August.

Look at what happened to the virus in Arizona while the restrictions were in place — and what happened afterward:

By The New York Times | Sources: State and local health agencies and hospitals

Other states had similar success over the summer, and it’s worth emphasizing that their actions often fell well short of a full lockdown. “Unfortunately, the debate has sometimes devolved into these two camps — you’re either pro-lockdown or ‘let ’er rip,’” Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins University epidemiologist, told me. “There is a lot of real estate between those two positions.”

Over the past week, with the number of U.S. infections setting records every day, many states have begun announcing new restrictions. But they often fall short of what experts say is needed. Two examples are Ohio and New Jersey, which are allowing bars to serve indoors until 10 p.m. Another example is Arizona, where restaurants and many bars remain open even as cases have surged again.

(A new Times analysis finds that the surge is worst in states where leaders failed to maintain strong containment efforts.)

The most common recommendations I’ve heard from epidemiologists are: Political leaders should deliver clear, repeated messages about the effectiveness of masks. Some indoor activities can continue so long as people are masked. But the spread is now rapid enough in many states that bars, restaurants and other cramped indoor spaces should close temporarily.

Experts also say that political leaders should discourage people from participating in big Thanksgiving gatherings. Otherwise, says Donald G. McNeil Jr., a Times science reporter, “we will be doing as a nation what the South did on Memorial Day weekend: opening ourselves up to holiday travel at a time when cases are rising.”

My colleague Jonathan Wolfe interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease specialist, yesterday, and he predicted that the coming months would be brutal. “December, January and early February are going to be terribly painful months,” Fauci said.

Jonathan replied that Fauci seemed not to have much faith that Americans were going to change their behavior in the next few months. “I don’t think they are,” Fauci said. “I don’t think they are.”

A vaccine trialPfizer, via Reuters

Pfizer released new data on its vaccine trial that was even more encouraging than the initial data: The shots were 95 percent effective and had no serious side effects.

Pfizer and Moderna, which has also reported promising results for its vaccine, have estimated they will have enough doses to vaccinate 22.5 million Americans by January.

New York City will close public schools again. About one-third of the city’s 1.1 million students had been attending some in-person classes for the last eight weeks.

Scientists say there’s little to no evidence that deep cleaning mitigates the threat of the virus indoors, because it primarily spreads through inhaled droplets.

Photos of Gov. Gavin Newsom of California attending an indoor dinner have sparked outrage. Other leaders in the state have also flouted orders and guidelines, even as they have repeatedly admonished residents to be extra vigilant.

Facing a Strange Holiday, People In N.H. Still Look For Ways To See Those They Love

Shortly after Emily Michalik got together with family last Easter, she started feeling off – she was fatigued, developed shortness of breath and had eye pain. When she tested positive for COVID-19, she feared she may have spread it to her parents and her sister.

“That means on Sunday I had already been exposed and was already potentially able to contribute the germs… so unbelievably deeply thankful that we chose not to take any extra risks because my family was totally fine,” Michalik said.

Michalik says her family took precautions. They got together in her garage with good ventilation, and they all stayed six feet apart from one another.

These days, she still has some lingering symptoms: fatigue, and a weak sense of smell.

But she does plan to spend Thanksgiving with her family this year. Her parents will bring their camper and park it at the end of the driveway, and everyone will bring their own dishes. She knows it won’t be a normal holiday. More at https://www.nhpr.org/post/facing-strange-holiday-people-nh-still-look-ways-see-those-they-love-0

New Hampshire 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Summary Report

(data updated as of November 21, 2020 – 9:00 AM)

Number of Persons with COVID-19 117,281
Recovered12,599 (73%)
Deaths Attributed to COVID-19508 (3%)
Total Current COVID-19 Cases4,174
Persons Who Have Been Hospitalized for COVID-19829 (5%)
Current Hospitalizations116
Total Persons Tested at Selected Laboratories, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)2400,533
Total Persons Tested at Selected Laboratories, Antibody Laboratory Tests232,858
Persons with Specimens Submitted to NH PHLN/A
Persons with Test Pending at NH PHL31,890
Persons Being Monitored in NH (approximate point in time)6,575

1 Includes specimens positive at any laboratory and those confirmed by CDC confirmatory testing.
2 Includes specimens tested at the NH Public Health Laboratories (PHL), LabCorp, Quest, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Mako, certain hospital laboratories, the University of New Hampshire and their contracted laboratory, and those sent to CDC prior to NH PHL testing capacity.
3 Includes specimens received and awaiting testing at NH PHL. Does not include tests pending at commercial laboratories.

NH DHHS COVID-19 Update – November 21, 2020

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued the following update on the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

On Saturday, November 21, 2020, DHHS announced 493 new positive test results for COVID-19, for a daily PCR test positivity rate of 2.2%. Today’s results include 339 people who tested positive by PCR test and 154 who tested positive by antigen test. There are now 4,174 current COVID-19 cases diagnosed in New Hampshire.

Several cases are still under investigation. Additional information from ongoing investigations will be incorporated into future COVID-19 updates. Of those with complete information, there are fifty-two individuals under the age of 18 and the rest are adults with 57% being female and 43% being male. The new cases reside in Rockingham (105), Hillsborough County other than Manchester and Nashua (82), Merrimack (37), Strafford (27), Belknap (22), Cheshire (16), Grafton (11), Carroll (6), Sullivan (6), and Coos (3) counties, and in the cities of Manchester (120) and Nashua (43). The county of residence is being determined for fifteen new cases.

Community-based transmission continues to occur in the State and has been identified in all counties. Of those with complete risk information, most of the cases are either associated with an outbreak setting or have had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

DHHS has also announced one additional death related to COVID-19. We offer our sympathies to the family and friends.

  • 1 male resident of Hillsborough County, 60 years of age and older

There are currently 116 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. In New Hampshire since the start of the pandemic, there have been a total of 17,281 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed with 829 (5%) of those having been hospitalized.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Explaining the mask mandate

This is the actual order…

1. Beginning on November 20, 2020, all persons over the age of 5 within the State of New Hampshire shall wear a mask or cloth face covering over their noses and mouths any time they are in public spaces, indoors or outdoors, where they are unable to or do not consistently maintain a physical distance of at least six feet from persons outside their own households.

2. For purposes of this Order, the term “public spaces” includes any part of private or public property that is generally open or accessible to members of the general public. Public spaces include, but are not limited to, lobbies, waiting areas, outside plazas or patios, restaurants, retail businesses, streets, sidewalks, parks, beaches, elevators, restrooms, stairways, parking garages, etc.

3. This Order is not intended to override any provisions related to the wearing of masks and cloth face coverings that are contained within industry specific guidance that is part of Exhibit B to Emergency Order 52. In any situation where the provisions of such industry specific guidance conflicts with this Order, the provisions of such industry specific guidance shall control.

4. Nothing in this Order shall be construed to prevent municipalities within the State of New Hampshire from enacting their own ordinances related to the wearing of masks or cloth face coverings that contain stricter provisions than those contained within this Order.

5. This Order shall not apply to the following:

a) Educators, students, and staff within K-12 schools;

b) Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a mask or other face covering;

c) Any person consuming food or drink or sitting at a restaurant or table to eat or drink;

d) Any person engaged in physical strenuous physical activity;

e) Any person giving a religious, political, media, educational, cultural, musical, or theatrical presentation or performance for an audience;

f) Any person who is deaf or hard of hearing, and any person while communicating with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing or who has a disability, medical condition, or mental health condition that makes communication with that individual while wearing a mask or face covering difficult;

g) Any person obtaining or providing a service that requires the temporary removal of a mask or face covering;

h) Any person asked to remove a mask or face covering to verify an identity for lawful purposes; or i) Any public safety worker actively engaged in a public safety role and when a mask or face covering would seriously interfere in the performance of their public safety responsibilities.

6. A person who declines to wear a mask or cloth face covering because of a medical or developmental issue, or difficulty breathing, shall not be required to produce documentation, or other evidence, verifying the condition.

7. The provisions of this Order shall remain in effect through January 15, 2021.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nov 18 Update – Rapid tests and Stipends

FDA authorizes first rapid Covid-19 self-testing kit for at-home diagnosis

By Shelby Lin Erdman, CNN

Updated 1:09 AM ET, Wed November 18, 2020

(CNN)The US Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for the first self-test for Covid-19 that can provide rapid results at home.The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is a molecular single-use test available by prescription for self-diagnosis of the coronavirus, the agency said Tuesday.The rapid test utilizes a molecular amplification technology to detect the virus in people with known or suspected Covid-19 and can return results in 30 minutes, the FDA said.

A new test might be better at detecting past coronavirus infection, study finds

More at: https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/18/health/covid-home-self-test/index.html

Sununu holding off on restoring COVID restrictions as cases rise

By ETHAN DeWITTMonitor staff

Published: 11/16/2020 3:57:50 PM

As COVID-19 cases surge to new records in New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu is standing by one clear position: No new state-ordered lockdowns.

At a press conference last week, Sununu stressed that the state did not need to return to the stay-at-home order issued in late March, when restaurants and stores were shut to in-person traffic and only “essential” businesses were allowed to continue operating.

“We’re not looking at additional aggressive restrictions right now,” Sununu said, citing “the negative impacts of that kind of lockdown.”

Cases have been surging in recent weeks. On Sunday, state officials reported 361 new positive COVID-19 test results, just below a record set on Saturday: 384 cases.

Hospitalization levels and deaths are also rising, with 68 in the hospital Sunday and one death associated with long-term care facilities.

But for Sununu, the current situation is much different from the one that prompted the first lockdown, “which we absolutely had to do in the spring.”

“It was the right thing to do because we didn’t have testing and contact tracing and all these other things and everything was just so different back then,” he said Thursday.

Now, though, the governor continued: “It’s just truly different.” To start, there is no federal assistance to help businesses weather the crisis of a mandatory shutdown or enhanced unemployment benefits for laid-off workers, he noted.

And the governor said he was focused on the side effects seen the last time around – “the mental health issues, the isolation, the shutdown of schools, the issues around abuse of kids, the issues around substance misuse and abuse.” More at https://www.concordmonitor.com/Sununu-holding-off-on-restoring-New-Hampshire-COVID-restrictions-as-cases-rise-37300180

NH brings back $300-per-week stipend for long-term care workers

As COVID-19 cases rise, Gov. Chris Sununu on Monday reactivated $300-per-week extra stipends through the end of 2020 for frontline health care workers in long-term settings who care for residents on Medicaid.

The move brings back the state’s Long Term Care Stabilization Program Sununu announced last April to give additional payments to encourage workers to stay on the job as the state faced a few dozen viral outbreaks in nursing homes. More at https://www.unionleader.com/news/health/coronavirus/nh-brings-back-300-per-week-stipend-for-long-term-care-workers/article_8df4713e-ced2-57b3-bea6-40a533771c43.html

New Hampshire 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Summary Report

(data updated as of November 17, 2020 – 9:00 AM)

Number of Persons with COVID-19 115,303
Recovered11,250 (74%)
Deaths Attributed to COVID-19502 (3%)
Total Current COVID-19 Cases3,551
Persons Who Have Been Hospitalized for COVID-19817 (5%)
Current Hospitalizations77
Total Persons Tested at Selected Laboratories, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)2388,900
Total Persons Tested at Selected Laboratories, Antibody Laboratory Tests232,676
Persons with Specimens Submitted to NH PHL54,685
Persons with Test Pending at NH PHL3667
Persons Being Monitored in NH (approximate point in time)6,175

1 Includes specimens positive at any laboratory and those confirmed by CDC confirmatory testing.
2 Includes specimens tested at the NH Public Health Laboratories (PHL), LabCorp, Quest, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Mako, certain hospital laboratories, the University of New Hampshire and their contracted laboratory, and those sent to CDC prior to NH PHL testing capacity.
3 Includes specimens received and awaiting testing at NH PHL. Does not include tests pending at commercial laboratories.

NH DHHS COVID-19 Update – November 17, 2020

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has issued the following update on the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, DHHS announced 279 new positive test results for COVID-19, for a daily PCR test positivity rate of 2.0%. Today’s results include 198 people who tested positive by PCR test and 81 who tested positive by antigen test. There are now 3,551 current COVID-19 cases diagnosed in New Hampshire.

Several cases are still under investigation. Additional information from ongoing investigations will be incorporated into future COVID-19 updates. Of those with complete information, there are eighteen individuals under the age of 18 and the rest are adults with 55% being female and 45% being male. The new cases reside in Rockingham (69), Hillsborough County other than Manchester and Nashua (36), Merrimack (26), Strafford (23), Belknap (16), Cheshire (16), Grafton (12), Carroll (10), Sullivan (4), and Coos (1) counties, and in the cities of Manchester (39) and Nashua (20). The county of residence is being determined for seven new cases.

Community-based transmission continues to occur in the State and has been identified in all counties. Of those with complete risk information, most of the cases have had close contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.

DHHS has also announced two additional deaths related to COVID-19. We offer our sympathies to the family and friends.

  • 1 female resident of Hillsborough County, 60 years of age and older
  • 1 female resident of Merrimack County, 60 years of age and older

There are currently 77 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19. In New Hampshire since the start of the pandemic, there have been a total of 15,303 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed with 817 (5%) of those having been hospitalized.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment